Climate change from rising levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) is having two major effects in our seas – global warming and ocean acidification – and the combination of these threats is affecting marine life from single organisms to species communities.
Researchers from the University of Portsmouth are helping to build an artificial reef that could protect vulnerable marine ecosystems in the Mediterranean Sea against climate change.
The reef is made of small plastic structures that mimic natural coralline algae (algae with calcium carbonate structures), which have a similar ecological function to corals. Coralline algae form reefs that are able to host different species to create highly diverse and complex environments.
Due to their calcium carbonate structures, coralline algae are extremely vulnerable ocean acidification, since their skeleton is very soluble to low pH conditions. Their survival and the survival of their associated species is at risk.
In the long run, the aim is to see if organisms can survive in an artificial reef in case the coralline algae disappear in the future due to ocean acidification. The team also expects to be able to make artificial carbonate reefs from biodegradable plastic that would gradually disappear, leaving only natural coralline structures in place.
Researchers will deploy the ‘mimics’ close to existing coralline algae reefs in the Mediterranean Sea over a 12 month period. The aim is to see if they are able to host species, similar to their natural counterparts, and protect them against the effects of climate change, as well as acting as scaffolds for natural coralline algae reefs to grow.
Project co-ordinator Dr Federica Ragazzola, Senior Lecturer in Marine Biology at the University of Portsmouth, said: “In a small and confined seas like the Mediterranean, these potential ‘buffers’ are among the dominant organisms. Coralline algae belong to these groups of organism that may play an important role in buffering the pH decrease thus creating a micro-environment that may help some species to resist future climate changes.
Dr Chiara Lombardi, from the Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (ENEA) and project partner, said: “Our research will allow us to clarify the function of the coralline algae reef as a buffer for diversity, abundance, reproductive, ecological and structural characteristics of the associated fauna. As a consequence, our results will be important for the planning of future protection and management strategies involving coralline algae bioconstructions.”
The project is a collaboration between the University of Portsmouth, the National Research Council (Italy’s largest public research institution), and MedClimaLizers, an international research collaboration that will lead to improvements in our understanding of biomineralisation in the changing waters of the Mediterranean.
Funded by the Royal Society, the project aims to study the mitigation effects of the coralline algae reef in the Gulf of La Spezia, on the north-western coast of Italy.
The 90 synthetic mini reefs, 10cm in diameter, each with 20 fronds made of a highly elastic rubber material, known as silicon elastomer, will be anchored in clear resin.
The first mimics have been put in place this month. After 12 months, the natural reefs and mimics, along with their associated fauna, will be exposed to future climate change scenarios projected for 2100 (IPCC 2014) under controlled conditions.
The Latest on: Artificial coral reef
- Engineering the Wave of Tomorrow?on October 29, 2019 at 11:39 am
This is the next generation of surf exploration.” Artificial reefs are nothing new. A handful have been tried or are in the process becoming a reality, but they all face the same roadblock – the ...
- Condos for fish: R.I. installs artificial reef off Sabin Pointon October 25, 2019 at 6:49 pm
They were shipped to Quonset Point in North Kingstown and then brought by barge to Sabin Point. The concrete balls have been used to make artificial reefs at thousands of sites around the world, ...
- Hurricane Michael played havoc with area’s shallow-water reefson October 25, 2019 at 3:08 pm
SEE coordinates of artificial reefs near Mexico Beach MAP of reef sites near Mexico Beach. During the storm, the shrimp boat was pushed upright in a newly carved depression in the sand. The portion of ...
- Mother of Murrells Inlet woman killed in 2017 pushes for end to domestic violenceon October 24, 2019 at 8:32 pm
“Her smile could light up a room. She was very passionate about coastal conservation. She was very passionate about raising funds for artificial reefs.” Perry’s family raised money to drop an ...
- RI’s first concrete artificial reef being built in Narragansett Bayon October 24, 2019 at 1:00 pm
“A lot of reefs that are built elsewhere are far offshore and not a lot of people can access them.” The artificial reef is expected to be completed by Friday morning. (WPRI) — Voters in several ...
- Area Fishing Reporton October 24, 2019 at 6:22 am
False albacore and bluefish are being caught along the beaches on Big Nic jigs and various casting jigs. Fishing at the nearshore rocks and artificial reefs is producing catches of king mackerel, ...
- Artificial Reef To Be Built In East Providence Waterson October 22, 2019 at 3:53 pm
RI — The Nature Conservancy and the Department of Environmental Management will be constructing artificial reefs off Sabin Point Park in East Providence this week. This will be the first time that ...
- 3D printed coral could help endangered reefs | IDTechEx Research Articleon October 21, 2019 at 10:00 am
As coral reefs degrade, they often lose structural complexity ... They are analyzing what settled on the artificial tiles, with an eye toward methods that would support conservation efforts. "Offering ...
- A 'fertility clinic' for coral sparks hope to save our dying reefson October 18, 2019 at 7:54 am
Success arrived in mid-August. The rescued pillar corals had taken the artificial cues and spawned two days in a row, right on schedule. The pillar coral on the Florida reefs have been unable to ...
- UPDATE: Group monitors artificial oyster reefs planted in Panama Cityon October 17, 2019 at 1:34 pm
Manager Jonathan Brucker and his team planted their own eco-friendly reefs in St. Andrews Bay, Apalachicola and Pensacola a couple years ago. We drove out to the Preserve to find out if those reefs ...
via Google News and Bing News